Human Exceptionalism

Should Doctors Refuse Living Donor Uterus Transplant?

I know I am spitting in the wind, but that’s my job. We permit voluntary organ donations of one kidney or a slice of liver.  While things usually work out fine, there is no question the donation risks the health or life of the donor.  But the point is to save a life.

Now, the issue of voluntary organ donation is being taken to the next step: A mother is going to donate her uterus to allow her daughter to give birth.  From the story:

The world’s first mother-daughter uterus transplant could take place next year in Sweden, the head of an international research team in the western Swedish city of Gothenburg said Tuesday. “We have reached a stage where we have started to plan for a human transplant and we are investigating 10 pairs, most of those are mother and daughters,” Mats Braenstroem told AFP, adding the first of such transplants could take place “hopefully at the beginning of next year.” He added that transplanting a womb from a woman to her daughter would be a world first, although a uterus transplant between two unrelated women took place in Saudi Arabia in 2002.

I don’t think this should be done.  The donor’s body is not going to be violated (in the non pejorative sense) to save a life, but permit the recipient’s deeply desired dream to come true.  I understand and empathize with the yearning, but is it worth the donor dying or health complications should that unlikely event occur? At some point, do doctors have to refuse to “harm” the donor–even if that is what the donor wants? I think so, and that probably makes three of us–me, myself, and I.

This story brings up another issue: Our odd ethical relationship with procreation.  On one hand society countenances moving heaven and earth to allow a woman to have a baby–or pay others to be “gestation carriers,” for eggs, etc..  We test IVF embryos for eugenic and health quality control and throw the spares away as medical waste or turn them into research resources.  And if the developing fetus doesn’t meet quality standards, the once urgently desired child is simply aborted–which can happen even if the yearned-to-be-mother simply changes her mind.

“Choice” is the be all and end all in the world of procreation today.  But there should be reasonable parameters.  Yea, and there should be permanent peace in the Middle East too, Wesley.

Most Popular

White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
Film & TV

Hillbilly Elegy: Ron Howard’s Inverted Mayberry

Hollywood knows two registers when it comes to the white working class (WWC): sentimentalizing and condescending. WWCs are either cute, neighborly, and folksy, or they constitute a tawdry, alien life form. There are 130 million WWCs in our country, and yet nobody in Hollywood has the slightest grasp of them. With ... Read More
Film & TV

Hillbilly Elegy: Ron Howard’s Inverted Mayberry

Hollywood knows two registers when it comes to the white working class (WWC): sentimentalizing and condescending. WWCs are either cute, neighborly, and folksy, or they constitute a tawdry, alien life form. There are 130 million WWCs in our country, and yet nobody in Hollywood has the slightest grasp of them. With ... Read More